Custom careers in the workplace of the future

workplace of the futureWhen I joined the accountancy profession over 30 years ago, the assumption was that I, along with my fellow professionals, would be lifers – one job for life.

The reality is that in the modern workplace people are now looking for greater flexibility with their professional and personal lives. Young people especially are driving this change. The same job from school or university, five days a week, through to retirement is less sought after.

The next generation of workers are looking for opportunities to pursue their passions alongside a successful career. And perhaps they would be sensible to do so. In the workplace of the future, employers will be looking for employees who can demonstrate a broad range of skills and experiences to bring to their role.

Michael Heap, a senior manager in EY’s Financial Services Practice in London, is a great example of how you can customise your career with flexible working. Michael is a portfolio worker, who works at EY three days a week, advising banks and fin-tech companies, and spends the rest of his time building his start-up business. Tmup, launched by Michael in 2018, is an app that connects people who want to play sport with others, either as a pair or as part of a team.

“My small business started as a side hustle, but with the support of my employer it has become a greater part of my working week,” said Michael. “EY’s flexibility as an employer allows me to continue my career, whilst developing the skills I need to grow my own business, which is beginning to take shape.”

People like Michael, and those featured in the Timewise Power 50, are pioneers of the workplace of the future. As role models, they are helping to inspire others to challenge the status quo, and to bring about the level of change that will be needed to ready the UK’s workforce for the fourth industrial revolution.

As a member of EY’s leadership team in the UK & Ireland, and as someone who works four-days a week, I’m often asked ‘how can I have a senior role and have flexibility too?’ The simple answer is, ‘ask’. When proposing a flexible working arrangement focus on your role in terms of outputs - what expectations and achievements are hoped for? That will help to frame your mind-set, and others, on the work completed rather than on the time spent at your desk.


by Lynn Rattigan, Chief Operating Officer at EY, UK & Ireland

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